Notary Public – Who, What, When and Why?

Who?

A notary public is an officer appointed by the Isle of Man Courts.  They are required for a number of reasons but largely to authenticate and certify signatures and documents for use abroad.  When a legal document is presented in a foreign country, it is often difficult for the recipient to validate the document or signature as genuine and authentic. By vitrue of the Hague Convention certain countries signed up to the convention to accept the legalisation of documents by other convention members by means of a notary. 

In addition to notarisation of a document, a further certificate of authenticity may also be required from the Isle of Man Courts.  The “apostille certificate” (issued by the Isle of Man Courts) confirms the signature, seal or stamp of the notary on a document to be genuine so that it will be accepted when presented in another country outside of the Isle of Man. The cost of this apostille is in addition to any costs of the notary as it is a government fee.

What?

Each notarial is unique to the particular client and circumstances.  Examples include witnessing signatures on powers of attorney in relation to dealing with property abroad, swearing a statutory statement or affidavit or confirming a passport by providing a certified copy of the original.

The process itself involves the notary adding their personal stamp and seal to the document or a covering confirmatory certificate tailored to the particular circumstances.
A notary will therefore require the applicant or client to appear before them with such documents required to be notarised.

When?

If you require the services of a notary:

  • we suggest you arrange an appointment as far in advance as possible.  Check any time constraints in the documents being notarised and how many copies require notarisation;
  • we would advise you to also confirm whether the document should be apostilled;
  • the client will need to provide original documents proving their identity usually a passport or driving licence and a copy of a recent (within three months) utility bill (not a mobile phone bill);
  • please provide a copy of the document to be sworn or notarised in advance (email is sufficient), where possible;
  • provide copies of any other relevant documents the notary may need to review;
  • if the document is in a foreign language, the notary may require the document to be translated or have an interpreter present.  The notary will want to be satisfied that the parties understand the document.

Why?

It is important to establish if a document needs to be notarised as failure to do so may result in the documents being invalid or unenforceable (or both) in the applicable jurisdiction.

DQ’s expertise

Both Mark Dougherty and Donna Matthews are experienced licensed Isle of Man notaries.  For further information or to make an appointment, please contact Mark’s Assistant Rachel Goldsmith or Donna’s Assistant Kylie Patterson